Mdewakanton Public Safety is a full-time, professional fire and ambulance department staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As an exercise of governmental authority the department serves Community members, employees and guests of the Community, and residents of Scott County communities through mutual aid agreements with all the local governments in Scott County to provide assistance upon request or fire and emergency services. The fire station, which opened in 2002, now responds to an average of 150-200 calls a month. With a response time of two minutes or less to most areas of the reservation, the department is equipped to handle virtually any emergency.
Firefighters control and extinguish fires; handle hazardous materials incidents; conduct water, ice, rope, high angle, and confined space rescues; and respond to vehicular accidents. The department has helped fight fires at a Belle Plaine apartment complex, at a church in Shakopee, and at a grain bin at the harbor in Savage. Mdewakanton Public Safety also helps cover other districts when their fire departments are out on a call or otherwise unavailable.
Mdewakanton Public Safety has three Advanced Life Support ambulances and a staff of trained paramedics to respond to emergency situations. The ambulance crew, which consists of one paramedic and one Emergency Medical Technician, can perform advanced airway techniques, take vital signs, interpret electrocardiograms, administer oxygen, give medications, start IVs, perform emergency obstetrics, and respond to all types of trauma.
The department does an average of 60 patient transports each month to local hospitals. Emergency Medical Technicians from the SMSC Gaming Enterprise as well as Mdewakanton Public Safety have had several successful defibrillator "saves" where patients were shocked with a defibrillator and had their heart rhythm restored. These patients were transported to a local hospital for evaluation, stabilization, and cardiac catheterization to open blocked vessels in the heart. When these procedures are done quickly, it results in minimal heart damage. Patients' outcomes have been greatly improved by the quick response of Community responders.
Mdewakanton Public Safety has a training program to insure that firefighters and paramedics are fully prepared to handle virtually any emergency situation which might arise. To maintain a high level of competency weekly trainings are held on a variety of scenarios which staff might face. They practice ventilation, hazardous materials response, firefighter rescue, fire suppression, mock crashes, and medical emergency procedures. They also participate in joint training exercises with other area fire departments several times a year.
Team Members who work in the Security Department for the Gaming Enterprise also have the opportunity to participate in a unique cross-training program to become Level 1 Firefighters. Local youth ages 14 to 21 have participated in SMSC Explorer Post 9100 since 2003, devoting two hours each week to learning the work of firefighters. Their first year Mdewakanton Fire Post 9100 was awarded Minnesota "New Explorer Post of the Year." Members study and practice to become state certified first responders.
Mdewakanton Public Safety has offered Avian Flu Preparation and CPR/First Aid classes for members and staff in conjunction with the SMSC Health Department. They take blood pressures and do glucose monitoring for health screenings at wellness events. They conduct outreach and education for youth and offer tours of the fire station. They also offer classes for certification which are open to outside agencies: Hazardous Materials, Firefighter I and II, and Emergency Medical Services. A recent addition is the National Incident Management System Training, federally mandated for all emergency service providers after the national tragedy on September 11, 2001. This class teaches agencies how to manage emergencies and work together in a unified command format. Mdewakanton Public Safety also provides customized training for police and fire departments and additional Continuing Education Classes.
Through its efforts to meet specific preparedness criteria outlined by a partnership between the National Weather Service and state and local emergency managers, Mdewakanton Public Safety assisted the SMSC in becoming recognized as a StormReady Community. The StormReady program recognizes locations with superior communication and safety skills before, during, and after severe weather.
Mdewakanton Public Safety also administers the Mdewakanton LIFE Program, which donates Automated External Defibrillators to tribes, schools, police and fire departments, and other organizations. With a goal to create greater awareness, availability, and knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), the program also aims to improve first response to a cardiac incident not only within our Community but within our neighboring communities. To achieve these goals, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is reaching out through Mdewakanton Public Safety to train first responders and place AED units throughout the area.
Since the Mdewakanton LIFE Program began in 2004, the SMSC has donated 789 AEDs with 23 lives saved due to their use, as of June 2013.
Priority is given to American Indian tribes in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, first responding agencies, and governmental agencies. Although the SMSC receives many worthy requests, currently, because of the large need, requests from agencies serving less than 50 clients, churches outside of Scott County, and non-profit organizations outside of the five-state area are not eligible for consideration at this time.
Organizations which meet the above criteria and are in need of an AED may send a written request to the Mdewakanton LIFE Program, Mdewakanton Public Safety, 2330 Sioux Trail NW, Prior Lake, Minnesota 55372. Inquiries may also be made to 952-233-1077.
Applications are available online at www.mdfire.org.